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FOIA Policy

The Privacy Office is responsible for administering policies, programs, and procedures to ensure that Department of Homeland Security complies with the Freedom of Information Act (FOlA) (PDF, 18 pages - 79 KB) and the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552 and 5 U.S.C. 552a, respectively.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute. FOIA generally provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records. FOIA also establishes a presumption that records in the possession of agencies and departments of the Executive Branch of the U. S. government are accessible to the people, except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

Submitting Requests

While the FOIA supports disclosure of federal agency records, the law recognizes the legitimate need to restrict disclosure of some information. The FOIA does not grant an absolute right to examine government documents; the FOIA establishes the right to request records and to receive a response to the request. If a record cannot be released, the requestor is entitled to be told the reason for the denial. The requester also has a right to appeal the denial and, if necessary, to challenge it in court.

FOIA Library

FOIA requires agencies to make various types of records available for public inspection in both paper and electronic form:

Contacts

For more information, please contact the DHS Privacy Office's Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Program:

FOIA/PA
The Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive SW
STOP-0655
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655
Toll-free: 866-431-0486
Telephone: 703-235-0790
Facsimile: 703-235-0443
E-mail: foia@dhs.gov

See contact information for Chief FOIA Officer, Deputy Chief FOIA Officer/Director of Disclosure, FOIA Requester Service Centers, and Public Liaison.